Seven years after permit approval, Savage Mountain (MD) industrial wind plant scrapped due to lack of interest.

From the Cumberland (Maryland) Times-News:

March 18, 2010

Permit expires Saturday for Savage wind development

Megan Miller (Cumberland Times-News)

— CUMBERLAND — A Savage Mountain wind power project that never got off the ground will officially die on Saturday, when the facility’s construction deadline passes.

Despite a two-year extension granted in 2007, construction work never began on the proposed US Wind Force facility. After three years of construction delays, Vice President David Friend said that ultimately, the company couldn’t secure an adequate power purchase agreement in a timely fashion.

“At that time the market was at one place and today it’s at a different place,” Friend said. “In today’s market, that project just didn’t perform well enough to make it work.”

US Wind Force filed a permit application with the Maryland Public Service Commission on Aug. 26, 2002, to build a 40-megawatt wind power facility on the border of Allegany and Garrett counties, near Lonaconing.

The Maryland Public Service Commission approved the permit on March 20, 2003, allowing the project to proceed and requiring construction to be completed within five years.

But the Savage Mountain wind farm was planned on ground that had been strip-mined for coal since the 1960s. Due to complications with mining companies, the backfilling, regrading and other land reclamation work under the Bureau of Mines was not completed until June 2006. Because of the delay, US Wind Force requested and was granted a two-year extension on the construction deadline.

That was as far as it got.

Friend said the company isn’t calling it quits yet on another stalled project, this one on Dans Mountain in Allegany County. The Dans Mountain project received PSC approval in February 2009, but was stopped by zoning ordinance changes made by the County Commission.

“It’s not abandoned by any stretch,” Friend said. “At the end of the day, we still have a huge investment there, and we’re not ready to give up on that project just yet.”

US Wind Force isn’t the only company struggling to implement commercial wind projects in Maryland. To date, no developer has managed to accomplish that feat.

Andrew Gohn, clean energy program manager for the Maryland Energy Administration, said in the case of Allegany County, wind power development was blocked by the policy decision by local government officials.

“Allegany County drafted and ultimately passed an ordinance that is so restrictive that I think it’s fair to say it effectively bans wind power in Allegany County,” Gohn said. “It was pretty clear that it was drafted with an intent to ban the technology from the county, and it has had that effect.”

But in Garrett County, that hasn’t been the case. Gohn said the lack of developers’ success there could be partly due to national policy on renewable energy development.

The federal tax credit that incentivizes developers to build renewable energy projects used to be available on an intermittent basis — only so many months out of each year. Gohn said that made it more difficult for developers to finance their projects.

Two projects now pending in Garrett County, both reincarnations of earlier plans, could become the first Western Maryland wind farms to go into construction later this spring.

Both are located on Backbone Mountain. One, previously owned by Criterion Power Partners, was purchased in November by Constellation Energy. The deal was set to close in the first quarter of 2010, and a Constellation spokesman said everything is on track for construction to begin shortly thereafter.

The second, a Synergics Wind Energy project, received its approval from the PSC in mid-November.

Contact Megan Miller at mmiller@times-news.com.

This entry was posted in Allegheny Mountains, Industrial Wind PPA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Seven years after permit approval, Savage Mountain (MD) industrial wind plant scrapped due to lack of interest.

  1. Allegheny Front Alliance says:

    REMEMBER: There is no penalty if the Industrial Wind lies.

    First, thank you Cumberland Times News for reporting the story. The public deserves to understand what US Wind Force is offering West Virginia and Maryland. Second, Mr. Friend’s remarks are disturbing.

    Questions
    1. Is US Wind Force, an ethical company, prepared to manage a project for the next twenty years?
    2. Is Maryland prepared to enter into contract with an unmanaged and undisciplined company?

    Background: Since 2002, US Wind Force has not successful completed a project wind project.

    US Wind Force FAILED HISTORY

    Mount Storm Project – granted a permit was WV PSC. Project not started, but still advertised.

    Liberty Gap permit was temporary denied by WV PSC because of flawed studies. Liberty Gap Wind, LLC has only taken limited action.

    Savage Mountain announced this project June 30 2002. In announcing the project: “Cookman said U.S. Wind Force wants to get the system on line as soon as possible so that energy companies who purchase the wind-generated power can take advantage of federal tax credit incentives for using the technology. The tax credit program is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2003, unless an extension is enacted prior to that time. The commission is putting the proposed zoning amendment on a fast track to give U.S. Wind Force enough time to construct the system before the 2003 deadline”

    In May of 2007, US Wind Force asked the for a project extension. Read what US Wind Force reports below:
    “U.S. Wind Force LLC, the parent company of Savage Mountain Wind Force, has argued that the reason it needed more time was essentially out of its control. The project would be at a former strip mining site, and the state recently finished environmental cleanup there.”
    “When the reclamation was finished, we looked at the schedule and realized our permit runs out too soon to get it done,” said David Friend, vice president of sales and marketing for U.S. Wind Force. He said the next steps are to get the project financed and sell the power it will produce. When the project is operating at its full capacity, it will be able to produce enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes. Friend said the project should be completed by the 2010 deadline.

    You can read the entire Maryland Public Service Commission Case Files here:
    Enter Case Number 8939: http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/Intranet/home.cfm
    Read about US Wind Force Petition to grant the Project an Extension

    Question: So instead of working on this project, US Wind Force is involved in trying to promote two separate projects in Maryland State Forests. These projects were so ill planned that the Governor of Maryland said no after 500 Maryland residents objected to what was proposed. That was in 2008

    Does US Wind Force stay on track? NO they are now moving towards project development at Dan’s Mountain and Pinnacle Knob Project.

    Dan’s Mountain –
    In March 2009, Maryland Public Service Commission granted the permit. US Wind Force has decided against constructing this project. But remember this project was under study and consideration since 2005

    The reason is Allegheny County Commissioners, June 2009, enacted a Home Rule to enact community safety and health performance standards. US Wind Force left the table. The decision to enact Home Rule required more than 14 months of study and consideration.

    So quickly, US Wind Force packs their bags to bully themselves into neighboring Mineral County, a nearly identical project.

    Pinnacle Project.
    AFA takes US Wind Force to court. Where they learn…

    US Wind Force announces they will not be operating the project, but sell the project to Edison Mission Energy Group (EMEG)

    The proposed Pinnacle Wind Project, LLC will be supplying electricity output on the wholesale market under and interconnection, operation, and maintenance agreement with the local utility.

    Pinnacle Wind Project is not a public utility but only an unregulated electrical generating project.

    In December 2009, US Wind Force is tentatively proposing a 20 year (PPA) Power Purchase Agreement with University System of Maryland.

    The University of Maryland is looking to purchase renewable energy credits from Pinnacle to “green” its energy consumption. The credits represent electricity generated from a renewable source — in this case, a Pinnacle wind turbine — but are separate from the actual electricity produced by the wind farm, which will be sold into the PJM regional transmission grid.\

    It’s really about selling and trading Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and trading renewable energy credits (TREC) It not a power purchase agreement, but a public relations deal.

    Can Edison be trusted?

    In 2008, Edison Mission Energy and two subsidiaries will pay about $9 million for misleading FERC staff during an investigation of a bidding strategy they used in the PJM
    Edison Mission admitted violating the duty of candor owed by market-based rate (MBR) sellers. FERC regulations obligate MBR sellers to “provide accurate and factual information and not submit false or misleading information, or omit material information, in any communication with the Commission … unless seller exercises due diligence to prevent such occurrences.”
    The reader needs to decide….
    • Does US Wind Force leadership show irresponsible behavior? Why would a company spend millions of dollars proposing and developing wind projects?

    • Why should University System of Maryland enter trust US Wind Force? US Wind Force, LLC is located in Pennsylvania. The proposed Pinnacle Project, LLC is located in West Virginia.

    • With has many projects being proposed, could workers, companies, investors, suppliers be assured that US Wind Force met their obligations. What assurances would there be for property owners, wildlife protection, preservation of ground water, traffic safety historical preservation and public?

    • If Edison Mission makes an investment, what happens if wildlife is harmed? Does this company understand and willing to assume the state and federal risk. US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended to US Wind Force to secure an incidental take permit, in a letter dated September 30, 2009.

    • What communication obligations does EMEG have to its investors?

    • Will consumers and taxpayers assume the risk because of mismanagement and inadequate leadership?

    US Wind Force creates more unanswered questions, but there is no penalty for lying. Industrial wind represents high costs with low social benefits.

  2. Frank O'Hara says:

    The wind industry is never penalized if they lie.

    In reference to the Savage Mountain Project: “When the project is operating at its full capacity, it will be able to produce enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes“

    Please Explain:
    Savage Mountain: The project is a 40-MW, wind powered, and renewable energy facility. It will incorporate up to 25 state-of-the-art wind turbine generators, nominally rated at 1.5 MW

    Dan’s Mountain: The project is proposed to have a maximum generating capacity of approximately 60 megawatts, using ‘about’ 25 turbines rated at 2.5 MW turbines, to supply 13,000 homes.

    The Pinnacle Knob project: represents a 55.2 – MW project and is to be ‘roughly’ 23 wind turbines rated at 2.5 MW to supply 14,000 homes.

    Will US Wind Force explain the differences and inconsistency? Is it because the wind is not reliable or predictable? On the other hand, is this just a public relations fairy tale?

    The public deserves honest answers. Here is a public relations story that US Wind Force writes:

    Liberty Gap is a 100 MW propose project, 50 turbines, with a 2.0 MW rating. Mount Storm is a 150 MW project located in Grant County will 89 wind turbines.

    “Combined, the projects are expected to generate approximately 650,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. Both projects are targeted to be operational by December 2007.”

    “US Wind Force, LLC, is an independent, closely held developer of renewable energy projects. Currently active in the Mid-Atlantic region with projects under development in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, US Wind Force is one of the fastest growing wind energy developers in the United States.

    Source: http://www.windaction.org/news/2049

    If you need an answer, call: Public Information Resources
    Toll-free information number: 1 (866) 929-4429
    Email: pinnacleinfo@uswindforce.com or web site: http://www.uswindforce.com

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